Breaking News in the Industry: October 11, 2017

Shoplifting

$12 million in counterfeit water bottles seized at port

Five separate incidents over the summer at the Port of Charleston have resulted in over $12 million in seized counterfeit water bottles from China according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  The merchandise was headed for a California-based drinkware distributor. The bottles were seized due to a violation of the unique shape and style already used by the S’Well Bottle Company.  “The officers that worked these seizures did a tremendous job,” Charleston Area Port Director Robert Fencel said in a statement. “It required thorough attention to detail and research to discover this trademark infringement.”  Border agents seized 354,597 bottles which copied the company’s bottle shape and cap features.If sold without S’Well’s permission, it would meet the requirements for counterfeiting and therefore seizure. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the goods seized was calculated at $12,341,820.  [Source: Live5 News]

Gum and baby formula shoplifting suspects sought

“I’m sure it’s being resold,” said Constable Naresh Dabas from the District Response Unit which is focusing on retail crime as Halton, Ontario police are cracking down on shoplifting across the region. “There’s a reason” it’s being stolen, he added. The first incident involving the suspects was on June 28 at Giant Tiger. “They selected a double-sized airbed,” said Dabas, adding the air mattress was hidden in a bag that the woman was carrying. Next up, gum. The man picked up 30 packs of gum, “concealed it in his jacket and left the store without making an attempts to pay,” said Dabas. The items are valued at $119.10. The second incident was on Sept. 6 at Food Basics. “First they went to the chewing gum rack again,” said Dabas, adding the woman “took multiple packs” and placed them in her purse.

Baby formula was second on the list for the suspects. They went to the baby aisle and took an unknown amount of formula, police allege.
“They must have brought a large bag to conceal it in,” said Dabas. Food Basics items are valued at $240. “To me, they know what they’re doing when they go in,” said Dabas. “So it’s organized retail crime.” The female is white, in her late 50s, standing 5-foot-8 with a medium build, weighing 140 pounds. She had long, blond hair in a ponytail, and was carrying a large shoulder bag. The male suspect is black in his mid 60s, standing six-feet, weighing 180 pounds. He was wearing a dark hat, black trench coat, white shirt, multicolored tie, and black pants. Anyone with information is asked to phone 905-825-4747 ext. 2351 or CrimeStoppers 1-800-222-8477.  [Source: InHalton]

Shoplifting at mall escalates to fight in parking lot

What started as a shoplifting incident at the Pueblo Mall in Colorado on Monday night ended in a fight with a gun being pulled. Pueblo police say that four people, three men, and one woman, stole shoes from a few stores in the mall. The group then ran outside and was followed by employees. One of the suspects got into a fight with an employee in the parking lot.  A gun was pulled out during the scuffle, officers do not believe any shots were fired.  The four suspects then got into their blue, four-door Mazda and drove off. If you have any information on this incident, contact Pueblo PD at (719) 553-2538.  [Source: ABC13 News]

A surprise in the Equifax breach: Victims likely to get paid

When hackers steal consumer data from a major company, the fallout is depressingly familiar: The corporation comes to a settlement with class action lawyers, who get paid nicely, while most of the victims of the breach get credit monitoring or nothing at all. Equifax, which recently presided over one of the worst data breaches in history, is likely to be a different story. Unlike like other high profile data breaches, such as those at Target and Home Depot, the credit bureau will probably have to pay actual money to consumers as compensation for its sloppy security practices. According to Chicago attorney Jay Edelson, the lawsuits “if done right” will see Equifax pay more than $1 billion with much of that cash going directly to the over 143 million consumers who had personal data like their birthdates and Social Security numbers stolen. He predicts the lawsuits will be settled in less than two years, meaning many consumers would be in line to get at least a small check.

There are several reasons why the fallout will be different this time around. A big one is a new reluctance among judges to sign off on class action settlements that include only free credit monitoring services which, as security experts have pointed out, often serve as a way for companies like Equifax to push consumers into a paid subscription service. Meanwhile, courts today are more willing to treat data theft as a harm in its own right, rather than requiring consumers to show actual economic database from a credit breach. This change, spurred on in part by a seminal Supreme Court ruling in 2016, sets the stage for a departure from past settlements.  [Source: Fortune]

Employee accused of stealing from her cash drawer

An Urbana, Illinois, woman who allegedly stole thousands of dollars from her employer over the last couple of months has been charged with theft. Chasity McGee, 40, was charged Friday with theft over $10,000, a Class 2 felony. A Champaign police report said that on Thursday, a loss-prevention associate at Walmart, reported to police that he began investigating McGee in August over shortages in a cash drawer that occurred when she was working. A review of surveillance videos showed McGee, while in the process of carrying register drawers to the cash office, placing her hand over the section with the large bills, balling it up and allegedly putting bills in her pocket prior to reaching the cash office. The report said McGee allegedly did this more than 11 times since mid-August. A specific amount that she is alleged to have stolen between August 17 and Wednesday was not given. Judge John Kennedy allowed McGee to remain free on her own recognizance. He told her to be back in court October 24 for a probable-cause hearing.  [Source: The News Gazette]

Woman charged with felony retail theft

An East Washington Pennsylvania woman was taken into custody Thursday on an arrest warrant obtained by South Strabane Township police on five counts of felony retail theft for allegedly stealing items from a sporting goods store and then having accomplices return the items to another store in exchange for gift cards. Rachel R. Phillips, 35, is accused of going into Field and Stream at Old Mill on five occasions in late July and early August, when she allegedly stole hunting and fishing items. She then allegedly gave the stolen merchandise to accomplices to return at DICK’S, Strabane Square, in exchange for gift cards. While those accomplices were successful four times, they were not on a fifth, when the return was denied because store personnel had been warned the returns may be associated with a theft, police said. Phillips was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller and released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled for a November 14 preliminary hearing before Weller. The stolen items were valued at more than $1,400. Detective Ken Torboli, who filed the charges against Phillips, said he also plans to charge her alleged accomplices.  [Source: Observer-Reporter]

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